Current Affairs Book Reviews (page 5)

THE MESSAGE by Richard Wolffe
Released: Sept. 17, 2013

"A sharp, eye-opening look at campaign politics and some of the often unlikable but inarguably effective operatives who populate the West Wing and its environs."
An engaging fly-on-the-wall report from inside the 2012 Obama presidential re-election campaign. Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 10, 2013

"With apparent effortlessness, Fink tells the Memorial story with cogency and atmosphere."
Pulitzer Prize-winning medical journalist/investigator Fink (War Hospital, 2003) submits a sophisticated, detailed recounting of what happened at Memorial Medical Center in New Orleans during and after Hurricane Katrina. Read full book review >

Released: Aug. 20, 2013

"A must-read study of the power of democracy and shared memory to shape our public spaces."
A well-tempered account of the fraught political struggles over the reconstruction of the World Trade Center. Read full book review >
Released: Aug. 13, 2013

"Although his subject was Iraq, Peter Van Buren covered the same ground in his hilarious We Meant Well (2011). Gezari eschews humor but delivers a gripping report on another of America's painful, surprisingly difficult efforts to win hearts and minds."
Having discovered (again) that superior firepower does poorly against guerrillas, America's military adopted its current counterinsurgency doctrine, an object of almost universal praise. Not all was deserved, writes journalist Gezari (Narrative Nonfiction and War Reporting/Univ. of Michigan) in this insightful but disturbing account of the Human Terrain System, a program designed to bring social science to the battlefield. Read full book review >
Released: May 21, 2013

"Exemplary journalism that defines a sobering, even depressing matter. A foundational document in the literature of the end of America—the end, that is, for the moment."
New Yorker writer Packer (Interesting Times: Writing from a Turbulent Decade, 2009, etc.) ranges across the country to chronicle the time when "the coil that held Americans together in its secure and sometimes stifling grip first gave way." Read full book review >

Released: April 9, 2013

"A well-reported, smoothly written book for anyone who wants to understand contemporary American military might and the widespread hatred for the U.S. that has been the result."
Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times national security correspondent Mazzetti demonstrates in horrifying, persuasive detail how the new-style warfare approved by both George W. Bush and Barack Obama has led to controversial assassinations by the U.S. government and blowback yielding new terrorists determined to harm American citizens. Read full book review >
Released: March 19, 2013

"A gripping environmental thriller."
An award-winning science journalist exposes how corporate interests and corrupt politicians almost turned a quiet, suburban New Jersey beach community into a toxic wasteland. Read full book review >
Released: March 12, 2013

"A surprisingly open, extremely timely examination of the sexual coming-of-age for Egyptian youth."
A daring new study finds the newly liberated Egyptians poised to demand more sexual freedom in the face of religious fundamentalism. Read full book review >
Released: March 12, 2013

"A step-by-step grasping of the enormity of an impending biodiversity crisis."
A frank, depressing wake-up call of impending environmental disaster. Read full book review >
SALT SUGAR FAT by Michael Moss
Released: March 12, 2013

"A shocking, galvanizing manifesto against the corporations manipulating nutrition to fatten their bottom line—one of the most important books of the year."
A revelatory look at America's increasing consumption of unhealthy products and at how the biggest food manufacturers ignore health risks, and employ savvy advertising campaigns, to keep us hooked on the ingredients that ensure big profit. Read full book review >
Released: Jan. 29, 2013

"Provocative, smart, densely argued—and deserving of a wide audience and wider discussion."
A tour de force of Big Picture thinking in which the former vice president gets his inner wonk on. Read full book review >
Released: Jan. 17, 2013

"A patient, wholly compelling investigation into a paranoid 'religion' and the faithful held in its sweaty grip."
A devastating history-cum-exposé of the Church of Scientology. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Luis Alberto Urrea
April 21, 2015

Examining the borders between one nation and another, between one person and another, Luis Alberto Urrea’s latest story collection, The Water Museum, reveals his mastery of the short form. This collection includes the Edgar-award winning "Amapola" and his now-classic "Bid Farewell to Her Many Horses," which had the honor of being chosen for NPR's "Selected Shorts" not once but twice. Urrea has also recently published a poetry collection, Tijuana Book of the Dead, mixing lyricism and colloquial voices, mysticism and the daily grind. We talk to Urrea about both of his new books this week on Kirkus TV. View video >